Bonifacio Byrne, Cuba

Bonifacio Byrne and the Cuban flag: “The most beautiful flag that exists”

Madrid Spain.- Cuban writer Bonifacio Byrne, author of the popular poem “My flag”, died on July 5, 1936 in his hometown, Matanzas, at the age of 75.

His beginnings in literature were marked by the influence of modernist poetry, and later his literary production was focused on denouncing the Spanish colony. In 1890 he founded the newspapers The morning Y The Liberal Youth.

In 1896 he had to emigrate to Tampa, United States, for his publication of sonnets on the execution of the patriot Domingo Mejía. During his years in the United States he collaborated with the newspapers Patrium, The Future Y The Expeditionary.

In 1897 he published in Philadelphia a book of patriotic sonnets entitled effigies, where he dedicated poems to Carlos Manuel de Céspedes, Agramonte, the Maceos, Calixto García and other heroes. The proceeds from the sale of the book were donated entirely to the Liberation Army.

His return to Cuba in 1899, the year in which the North American intervention took place, led him to write his most famous poem. Arriving in Havana, from the bay, he saw the United States flag raised next to the Cuban one at the El Morro Castle. This fact inspired his verses: “When I returned from a distant shore, / with a mournful and somber soul, / eagerly I looked for my flag / and I have seen another besides mine!…”.

During the first years of the republic he was secretary of the Provincial Government of Matanzas and of the Provincial Superintendence of Schools.

He continued his literary collaborations with newspapers such as The Athenaeum, The Figaro Y The Discussion. Among his poetry books are also eccentric (1893) and poems (1903). He also developed as a playwright and left works such as the anonymous (1905) and Sun ray (1911).

Bonifacio Byrne is buried in the Necropolis of San Carlos Borromeo in Matanzas.

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